Think of credit unions as socially responsible financial institutions. This is why we are so appealing amidst the turmoil in the global economy.
I just read an article from The Raddon Report that sparked my enthusiasm. Duck and Cover, written by Bill Handel, talks about how many financial institutions are pulling back amidst the economic crisis. What’s interesting is so many institutions are not only attempting to do “more with less”, but also are turning a blind eye to opportunities. Risk aversion can only go so far when it comes to business prudence. To put it more plainly: somebody’s got to start spending money!
Consumers are changing their preferences when it comes to banking. Smaller institutions, and not-for-profit credit unions in particular, are becoming more desirable. Some of my friends who I’ve been encouraging for years to join a credit union are finally starting to see why and how we’re different. Admittedly, I feel a sense of pride that we are in no need of taxpayer bailout money. Credit unions are a cooperative, and if anything we ‘bail’ each other out.
A few credit unions are on board with catchy marketing slogans, and that’s a good thing. Perhaps a more impactful use of funds would be to engage in more services, volunteerism, and social responsibility that appeals to our philosophy. Actions such as these certainly have public appeal right now. Consider the NBC Nightly News “Making a Difference” segments each night, or Ivar’s canceling their Independence Day fireworks show to expand their support local hunger relief agency Northwest Harvest. There’s plenty of ways we can spend money, support a cause, and feel good about it.
There is indeed opportunity in all of this. Bill Handel’s article also talks about how Gen Y’ers embrace social responsibility, and expect similar values in the places where they do business. As a Gen Y’er myself, I can confirm this is true, and credit unions do an excellent job in this arena. We help members borrow responsibly because we want them to be lifelong members. We educate with ongoing events and seminars. We support our community and causes that benefit those in need. All of these things cost money, yet are not a part of our core business function. Yet at Verity, this is not a PR stunt – we do it because it’s a part of our philosophy and who we are.
By being a member of a credit union, we can all feel proud for supporting the local, cooperative, socially responsible financial services industry.
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